– A Christmas Homily
When I was
young I never made a Christmas Wish List.
Instead, several weeks before Christmas my mother would ask, “What’s the best one thing that you want for Christmas?” And, invariably that best one thing would be
under the tree Christmas morning, although it may not have been out in the
because Christmas was also the time for receiving the things my mother knew we
needed, but wouldn’t ask for, like new sox, a pair of pants, or a nice shirt to
wear to church on Sundays. My mother also
knew that we wouldn’t be overly thrilled with that nice shirt, so it was
usually in one of those boxes that she also included what we really
wanted. Like the time that the camping
hatchet I asked for was hidden under a pair of new corduroy pants. Yes, there really was a time when responsible
parents actually gave little boys dangerous things like hatchets and bb
guns. And it was ok, because those
little boys knew all too well that if those types of gifts weren’t used
properly and safely that they would be gone and not replaced.
though, only asked for things she needed; I remember the very first Christmas
present that I bought her with money I saved from shoveling the neighbor’s
driveway. It was a set of six frosted
glass drinking glasses. I bought them
because that’s what she said she needed.
She sure seemed pleased when she unwrapped them. Only once did she tell me what she really
had been battling cancer for over five years.
She had endured several operations and several rounds of chemo. Each operation was hoped to be the last. Each chemo treatment was hoped to finally
provide the cure.
of 1979 she had her last operation. I
stopped by her hospital room on my way home from St Norbert College. I stopped in the doorway because her eyes
were closed. I didn’t want to disturb
her rest. Just when I decided to back
out and let her sleep, she opened her eyes, smiled at me and patted a spot next
to her on the bed.
to know how my exam had gone as she knew that I had semester finals in
a couple of my classes that day. She also wanted to be assured that I had verified with the registrar that I was all set
to finish at the end of the semester.
There was no mid-year graduation at St Norbert, but my classes would be
finished a half year early nonetheless.
She told me that there was some hamburger thawed in the refrigerator and
that I should make supper for my dad and I when I got home.
asked her how she felt since she hadn’t said anything about herself the entire
visit. She squeezed my hand, looked me
in the eye and said, “Danny, I was so disappointed when I opened my eyes after
the operation. I so wanted to see
Heaven; I really didn’t want to see my hospital room.”
A couple of
weeks later, on Christmas Eve, just about exactly this same time, my mother got
her Christmas wish. She received what she most desired. She got to spend
Christmas in Heaven, all because our
God is all love, he is all mercy, he is all giving. It is on Christmas that we celebrate the
reality that Emmanuel, God with us, came to us as one of us so that we could
experience the depth of the Father’s love, the humbleness of the Son and the
peace of the Holy Spirit.
We all need
God’s love. We all need God’s
mercy. He did this all because as Jesus
assured us, God knows what we need before we even ask for it. And, in the Christ Child, the Father provided
for our every spiritual need.
question left to each of us to ponder, to consider deeply, to pray for
discernment about, the question that each of us must answer, when Jesus asks, “What’s the very
best one thing that you want for Christmas?”
not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
His Peace <><